Oilers Negotiating With Dwayne Roloson

Jonathan Willis
June 17 2009 11:11AM

roli1

I’ve been watching the newswire pretty closely over the last few months for news on Dwayne Roloson. For all of the holes on the team, the most important one to address before next season is the currently empty number one goaltending slot.

This morning, Rob Tychowski gave all of us a rather vague update on the negotiations so far:

The Oilers also entered preliminary discussions with netminder Dwayne Roloson this week, but the talks are more about philosophy than contract mechanics. Roloson's camp considers him an elite-level netminder worthy of elite level money (and term) while the Oilers have to decide whether they're interested in entering a multi-year deal with a veteran netminder who'd be 41 in the second year of a contract. It's a tough call when they have Jeff Deslauriers in the wings and there are younger options out there on the trade and UFA fronts. They'll talk again later this week.

A few points, if I may:

1) Jeff Deslauriers is not an option for the starter’s job next season. He simply isn’t, and running out of the gates with him in the #1 role is as stupid as Colorado’s decision to roll with Budaj/Raycroft last season. Possibly stupider, since Budaj at least had a consistent NHL track record. He’s easily in the picture for the backup job, but he’s not close to supplanting Roloson.

2) I’d like to see Roloson come back. He’s a combative professional, and there’s never been any question about his effort in Edmonton. He was one of the few bright spots over this past season, and I can’t understand why so many people seem to dislike him so much.

3) That said, Dwayne Roloson is not an elite-level netminder. He’s not even the best UFA goaltender this summer - more on that in a moment.

4) Finally, there are plenty of available goaltenders and precious few starting jobs. Roloson isn’t likely to get a multi-year deal from anybody else, and Steve Tambellini shouldn’t give him one – even if it means that he walks.

Taking A Look At The Field

I did this ten days ago when discussing where Josh Harding might fit into the Oilers plans, but here’s another look at avg. save percentage over the past three years with Dwayne Roloson in bold:

  • Anderson: .928 SV% (.931, .935, .924)
  • Biron: .913 SV% (.899/.908, .918, .915)
  • Khabibulin: .909 SV% (.902, .909, .919)
  • Roloson: .909 SV% (.909, .901, .915)
  • Conklin: .909 SV% (.871/.892, .923, .909)
  • Clemmensen: .909 SV% (.889, .839, .917)
  • Garon: .908 SV% (.907, .913, .895/.894)
  • Gerber: .907 SV% (.906, .910, .899/.905)
  • Fernandez: .906 SV% (.911, .832, .910)
  • Labarbera: .906 SV% (.910, .893/.915)
  • Legace: .904 SV% (.907, .911, .885)
  • Boucher: .904 SV% (.884/.866, .932, .917)

Of goaltenders in the same range, Craig Anderson hasn’t been a starter, while Nikolai Khabibulin has been inconsistent since winning the Cup in Tampa Bay and frankly scares me a little given what his salary is likely to be. With Philadelphia apparently running out Emery/Esche as their tandem for next season (and good luck with that, by the way), Martin Biron is looking for a new home and given his age and track record I think he’d have to be considered a better option than Roloson.

In any case, there are at least three starting-calibre goalies out there (four if you include Anderson) and that doesn’t count guys like Harding, Halak or Lehtonen who might be available via trade. Steve Tambellini has all the leverage here; if Roloson balks at a one-year deal, he has plenty of options.

In other words, if, as Tychowski says, Roloson is looking for “elite level money (and term)”, it’s might help to point out to him that Martin Biron and Nikolai Khabibulin are both on the market.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Archaeologuy
June 17 2009, 03:32PM
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BigE57 wrote:

Wow, you’re on a roll these days, the othe day you were pining for C-list celebreties and today you want us to send you to Sweden. Greedy……….desperate and greedy.

Talk like that wont land you the position of Vice President of Hockey Girlfriend Operations.

I'm a Scientist! wrote:

*shoots hand in air* DIBS on being Vice President of Hockey Girlfriend Operations!

See BigE, it's too late now.

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#52 I'm a Scientist!
June 17 2009, 03:37PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

See BigE, it’s too late now

Oooo...sucks to be BigE. Perhaps we could make him an Associate somethingorother...

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#53 Archaeologuy
June 17 2009, 03:42PM
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@ I'm a Scientist!: I do respect the opinion of my VP. I'll take it under advisement.

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#54 The Menace
June 17 2009, 03:49PM
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OvenChicken8 wrote:

Dan Tencer wrote: Gustavsson’s girlfriend and Brunnstrom’s girlfriend happen to be BFF’s. I hate that I know that, but I do. First… LOL! It’s quite funny that you knew this. Second… Dallas seems like a good option if you’re in it for the money because I believe in Texas you do not pay state Tax on your money earned. Which in the case of these athletes means a lot more in the bank.

Coming from sweden, a move to either the USA or Canada would be a huge tax relief. High income earners in Sweden average paying the most tax out of the industrialized G-7 countries.

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#55 OvenChicken8
June 17 2009, 04:51PM
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@ The Menace: Good to know, thanks for the info :)

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#56 BigE57
June 17 2009, 05:15PM
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@ Archaeologuy: Something along the lines of rubbing lotion on the backs of the female prospects while they work on their tans would be more than sufficient.

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#57 Mike
June 17 2009, 06:04PM
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Dan Tencer wrote:

The Menace wrote: I don’t know why these swedish guys like Dallas so much. Gustavsson’s girlfriend and Brunnstrom’s girlfriend happen to be BFF’s. I hate that I know that, but I do.

Weird that you would know that, but earlier this year when you had Ritchie Hall on your show you didn't know that Kelly Campbell was in Tampa Bay. A sports talk show host should at least know the players on the pro teams in town...

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#58 Word
June 17 2009, 06:45PM
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@ Mike:

Kinda being an unnecessary dick no?

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#59 Dan
June 17 2009, 07:43PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

How is Khabibulan even listed as an option coming off a good season and a ticket of $6.75 million? There’s no chance, none, the Oilers spend a nickel over $4.5 million on both goaltenders combined because it’ll tie their hands when it comes to addressing holes at forward and mute any pie-in-the-sky talk about chasing a big name FA or getting into the Heatley bidding.

Personally I think 2.625 on both goalies max. Give (Exhibit A) 2M and JDD working at 0.625 and then work on dealing with the rest of the holes on the team. If its Roli, so be it, but I wouldn't give him more than one year.

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#60 Archaeologuy
June 18 2009, 12:43AM
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BigE57 wrote:

Something along the lines of rubbing lotion on the backs of the female prospects while they work on their tans would be more than sufficient.

Sir, I like what you bring to the table. This is the kind of thinking that lands a guy a nobel prize.

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#61 Milli
June 18 2009, 03:38PM
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I'd love to see Roli back, he gets no love, but he is a fierce cometitor. That said, only if he's willing to take 1 year at reasonable money, or 2 years cheap. I'm sure his agent has looked around at the few spots for more than a few goalies and can figure out they aren't in the power position.

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